US citizens grow up with the unshakeable conviction that they are entitled to “liberty and justice for all” – two of the core principles of American democracy. The country born out of rebellion rose to become a beacon for humankind, leading the modern world in economic development, education, art, science, and technology. Yet, even this exemplary democracy has its challenges to overcome, among them racial and cultural integration, immigration, security, and welfare. “Despite its achievements and progressive attitudes, the United States still lacks equality in certain spheres, an example being the justice system, specifically as regards access to legal representation for underprivileged or marginalized communities. The issue is particularly grievous when it comes to providing criminal defense services, thus denying low-income individuals the right to seek justice, protection, or remedy. Failure to resolve this problem poses the threat of perpetuating a vicious circle of social exclusion and poverty,” says acclaimed California-based attorney Joseph Cavallo.
In 1963, the US Supreme Court issued a landmark decision, ruling unanimously in the Gideon v. Wainwright case, “In our adversary system of criminal justice, any person … who is too poor to hire a lawyer cannot be assured a fair trial unless counsel is provided for him. This seems to us to be an obvious truth.” The ruling laid the foundations of the modern public defender system, granting all US citizens the right to legal representation in criminal proceedings even when they cannot afford to pay for it. Joseph Cavallo comments, “Gideon v. Wainwright offered hope for equal justice, but its promise is still an aspiration rather than reality. While society may be aiming to attain this ideal, the fact remains that the criminal justice system is under enormous strain, which affects the quality of representation for indigent defendants.”
Improving access to criminal defense services for low-income Americans goes beyond upholding their constitutional rights, notes Joseph Cavallo. A criminal justice system offering equal access to legal representation is crucial for reducing poverty, tackling discrimination in all its varieties, and safeguarding basic human rights. Closing the US justice gap will require a joint effort by the federal government, state authorities, and advocacy organizations, all of them working together to increase legal aid funding, address infrastructure issues, and improve public defense capacities.
Operating from Southern California office, Joseph Cavallo has gained a nationwide reputation as an attorney who handles each case with absolute commitment, exemplary professionalism, and complete dedication to securing justice for his clients. Although renowned primarily for his criminal defense work, he has achieved great success as a business litigator and personal injury lawyer, winning disputes that have resulted in cumulative damages of more than $20 million paid to his clients. After attending St. Peter’s College in Jersey City, NJ, Joseph Cavallo studied law at the Western State University in Fullerton, CA and was subsequently admitted to The State Bar of California. Media outlets often mention his aggressive defense tactics, noting that fellow attorneys and prosecutors may resent his forceful style, but clients consistently praise him and extol his relentless drive to win on their behalf. Joseph Cavallo brings the same passion and dedication to his activities outside the courtroom, advocating for abused women and bullied children and founding a volunteer organization called “Adopt the Elderly” to establish a friendship network for senior citizens.